Washington State Book Awards announced

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The Washington Center for the Book has announced the winners of the 2010 Washington State Book Awards for books published by Washington authors in 2009. The prizes are given to Washington state resident authors and authors who were born in Washington state. Some of the authors cited, either as winners or finalists, will soon appear in Jefferson County. Two of them have already been here and gone, and their work remains memorable.

Winning for fiction is Jim Lynch of Olympia for Border Songs. Finalists in the fiction category were Misconception by Ryan Boudinot of Seattle; Spooner by Pete Dexter of Whidbey Island; and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, who was born in Washington and now lives in Great Falls, Mont. Ford appears for a free reading of this book at the Port Townsend Public Library at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 14. Lucia Perillo of Olympia, a Copper Canyon Press poet, won the poetry category for Inseminating the Elephant. Her book was also a finalist for this year’s Pulitzer Prize in the poetry category. Finalists in the category included two other Copper Canyon poets: Shirley Kaufman, who was born in Washington and now lives in Jerusalem, for Ezekiel’s Wheels, and Seattle’s Heather McHugh for Upgraded to Serious. Sherman Alexie of Seattle was also listed as a finalist for Face as was Spokane’s Tod Marshall for The Tangled Line and Judith Skillman of Kennydale for Prisoner of the Swifts.

The history/biography award was given to Timothy Egan, Seattle, for The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America. Finalists in that category were The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride by Daniel James Brown of Redmond; Breaking Ground: The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and Unearthing of Tse-whit-zen Village by Lynda Mapes, Seattle; I’m Down: A Memoir by Mishna Wolff, Seattle; and The Collector: David Douglas and the Natural History of the Northwest by Spokane’s Jack Nisbet. Nisbet reads from this book at the Jefferson County Library on Wednesday, Oct. 27.

Carol Yoon of Bellingham won the general nonfiction award for Naming Nature: The Clash Between Instinct and Science. Finalists in that category were Puget Sound Through an Artist’s Eye by Tony Angell, Lake Forest Park; Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness by Seattle’s Lyanda Lynn Haupt; Blessing of the Animals by Brenda Miller of Bellingham; and Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology by David Williams, Seattle.

Also appearing soon at two events is Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain. Stein appears at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 29 at the Chimacum High School auditorium in a free event sponsored by the Jefferson County Library, and at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 30 in the Port Townsend City Council Chambers, 540 Water St., as a joint benefit for the Humane Society of Jefferson County and the Jefferson County Historical Society. Tickets to that event are $20 per person and may be purchased online at jchsmuseum.org.

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